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Old 01-23-2002, 05:38 PM   #41
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And did you happen to read Matthew 10:35-36? "For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'" How very Jesus-like. It reeks either of ideological contamination or a quote taken greatly out of context. Prospect #1 is more likely
Really? Compare that verse to Luke 14:26.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

The two verses are similarly frightening and - just as importantly - they come from two different Gospels. I believe these verses need not be explained away by contamination or bad context. They remind me of Matthew 5:29, in which Christ commands to pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin. In each case, I believe Christ is using extreme exaggeration to make His point: one must be willing to forsake EVERYTHING for Him. In most cases, one won't be expected to choose Him over your own family or life (and most theologians believe that "casting out your eye" was probably completely metaphorical), but you must be willing to make such sacrifices. You must be willing to hate everything else in comparison to your love for and loyalty to Him.

God must come first.

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Read Matthew 10:5: "Jesus sent out these twelve after instructing them thus, 'Do not go into pagan territory or enter a Samaritan town.'" Hmm...if Jesus hated Samaritans, then why was there a parable about the good Samaritan in another gospel?
It appears that the command was a strictly temporary command, one to be applied only while Christ was on Earth, and certainly not evidence that He hated Gentiles. (Some scholars believe this was so that the Jews, the chosen people, had the first opportunity to accept Christ - and to reject Him, as many did.)

I suggest that the commandment was temporary because of the Great Commission, Christ's final "standing orders", which also appear in the "Jewish-minded" Gospel of Matthew:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matthew 28:19 (emphasis mine)

Yes, Matthew is certainly the most Hebrew-centric Gospel, but even it includes the universal nature of the Great Commission. One reply would be that the verse was added later to make it fit the other gospels, but it would then appear that you're picking and choosing which verses to believe on the basis of presumed biases within each: "Matthew is Hebrew-centric; this one verse isn't, so it was added later."

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I severely doubt that Jesus stated the above words.
Then that begs an obvious question: what criterion does one use to pass judgment on verses in the Gospel? Do you simply discount passages that don't fit your conception of Christ's message?

That also brings up a serious concern for Christians: if verse X is not to be trusted, why not every verse in all four Gospels? And if the Gospels can be discarded, what good are they? As a Christian, I have to trust that the Gospels are more-or-less accurate, that the Holy Spirit guided the writers to give an accurate account and that the same Spirit to allow us to correctly understand its meaning.

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These three--Paul, Moses, and David--are men, not God. When a man or a woman speaks to us, do we simply agree with everything he/she states or just throw it all away? No. We look at what people say to us and we analyze what is given before us. And we have to face the fact that Jesus Himself didn't write the gospels. Even the most faithful modern biographies are riddled with personal bias, and these gospels are written 40 years after the fact.
Truly, they are not God. Truly, they are men, but they are not just men. I believe they are men of God, individuals God "hand-picked" and guided by His Spirit to write His message for the rest of us. Moses suggests the uniqueness of his calling by claiming that God talked to him via a burning bush; Paul, by the personal encounter on the road to Damascus; John (the author of Revelation) by the Revelation itself.

These authors of the Bible claimed to be patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. The books demand a much more definitive response than the critical eye that looks over the latest presidential biography. Like Christ, they're either madmen or right and must be approached as such.

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Roman Catholicism, my denomination, states that the Bible is "divinely inspired," not "divinely written." The difference is that, with divine inspiration, the books of the Bible were written with God in mind; that they were written because the writers believed it to be God's will.
I personally think that "divine inspiration" means more than writing "with God in mind". I could write a book with God in mind, but that wouldn't make it divinely inspired the way the Bible claims it is inspired. In the case of the Bible, divine inspiration is closer to the idea that God specifically and purposefully moved the men to write certain things about Him.

Yes, the Bible isn't divinely written. God didn't write it. But I believe He was the ghost-writer. The Holy Ghost-writer.

True, there are probably errors in translation and transcription - and we should certainly search for the most accurate manuscripts. It's also not clear how we should interpret things like Genesis and Revelation: did God tell Moses and John what to write verbatim? did He give them visions and they wrote what they saw? were the visions literal and what they wrote metaphorically? or were the visions themselves metaphorical?

BUT, one can genuinely and thoughtfully believe in the flawlessness of the Bible in this respect: one can believe that when the writers finished the original manuscripts in the original language, they were precisely the words that God intended.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18.
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Old 01-27-2002, 11:25 PM   #42
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i know this is a late post on this, but a lot of people know my feelings on this...I'm uncomfortable with those who claim to be Christian, yet still smoke. But then, I drink wine and swear, so....I guess I still think about the "your body is God's temple" supposition, and that we shouldn't abuse our "temples."

anyway, we had a guest speaker at church this weekend who said something that reminded me of these 'Christianity and smoking' threads. He and his wife were both heavy smokers when they both had very powerful conversions to Chrisianity (from being scientific athiests) on the same night. When they got home that night, just out of habit, they both 'lit up' - when this gentleman said that he *very clearly* heard God speak to him, saying "You don't need those any more." He told his wife this, they both tossed out their cigs and have never had another one since.

The scripture I'm reminded of is "My grace is sufficient."

[This message has been edited by Discoteque (edited 01-27-2002).]
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Old 01-28-2002, 06:08 PM   #43
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Bebe-

I think the feelings about smoking being contradictory to Christianity are a result of American culture. We tend to be a health-concious people (at least in theory, in practice its another story.) I think that has been transferred over to the Church and its version of what is pure and what isn't.

Its interesting to note that Charles Spurgeon, one of the most influential English ministers of the 1800s was quite fond of smoking cigars. Even though it may not be a wise or healthy thing, surely this did not mean that the Spirit of God was unable to speak or work through the man's life. That attitude not only limits God but its also proved false when you look at the impact and influence that men like Spurgeon have long after their death.
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Old 01-28-2002, 08:36 PM   #44
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I've belonged to the United Methodist Church my entire life. Although I am personally opposed to tobacco products, I have never heard anything in its teachings of smoking being "a sin." Not even from my Baptist friends (many of whom smoke). In fact, most churches I know of have some back or side door where some of the men will go smoke in between Sunday School and the Worship Service. The Methodist Camp I attended growing up allowed campers to smoke in certain areas. Compare that to the alcohol policy on Methodist property (it is prohibited) and I think it is safe to say that Methodists don't consider smoking a sin. Come to think of it, neither do we consider "drinking" a sin.

But for this:

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Originally posted by Achtung_Bebe:
He said "you are a diamond, do not tarnish the diamond... unique with intricate detail"
I shall now call you DiamondBebe9

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